Author Topic: Joining AEA  (Read 5545 times)

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kelbel

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Joining AEA
« on: Aug 21, 2004, 03:51 am »
I am curious as to how much experience most Stage Managers have when they join Equity.  How did you know it was the right time to join?
I've had a producer ask me about joining Equity to do his show, but I don't want to join and then not get work after that because of lack of experience.  
Thanks!  -Kelly

SM_Art

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« Reply #1 on: Aug 21, 2004, 11:16 am »
It's hard to say when the 'right' time is... but your question raises some others.  First, I think it's great that you're not rushing in to this, because many don't think it through and DO limit themselves.
If a producer likes you, and will continue hiring you, then perhaps the right time IS now.  If it's a 'one-shot' offer, perhaps not.  If it might be a continuing gig, getting in as a PA or non-union ASM, if that's possible on the particular contract, might give you more insight on whether or not you're ready.  I don't know how old you are, or how much experience you've got already, but if you're young enough to feel you have time to get more experience, perhaps that's a good option.  If it's just more confidence in knowiing how to deal with things you're looking for, you might jsut get that by jumping in and doing it.  Since you didn't mention what contract it was, or other details about the situation, it's hard to offer advice... but what I would say is to get as much information as you can so that your decision is not just based on the emotion of the situation.

kelbel

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« Reply #2 on: Aug 21, 2004, 12:25 pm »
I believe the contract would be a CAT Tier 1.  I'd be the SM, though I'd probably need a part-time job to go with it.  The producer has just started up a company, and from what I understand, he likes to keep people around if possible.  Right now, he's flying in a choreographer that he's worked with before.  She tells me that he's had trouble with finding good SMs in the past.  So that's a good sign for me.

One thing that has bothered me in the past is that I am young and I look even younger.  I've had people not take me seriously in the past, though it seems to be more of a non-professional thing.  I got out of college a little over a year ago.  I know an Equity SM who joined that early as well, but I didn't know if that is unusual.  I do feel confident in my abilities, and I know I can do it, but I want to make sure other people will think so too, and will hire me.

Thanks for responding.

MatthewShiner

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Joing Equity
« Reply #3 on: Aug 21, 2004, 12:52 pm »
First off, this is a business decision, and no one other then yourself will know all the ins and outs of your business life.  

The question to ask is do you think you can continue to work at the Equity level?  Do you think you are ready for the responsibilites of being an Equity SM?  Are you willing to leave behind some of the perks of working in non-AEA theatre?

For me the right time was during grad school.  I knew that I was going to do this professionally, I knew that this is what I was good at, and I had the opportunity to work on some top tier Regional shows as a non-equity assistant, and really got to understand the ins and outs of being an Equity Stage Manager.  I also spent several months observing other Equity stage managers from Broadway to Regional to Touring shows to make sure I knew what I was getting into.  I did not taking getting my card lightly.

For me, once I got my card, I have been able to work constantly.  But on the flip side, I am willing to move at the drop of a hat, or travel, and do really consider myself living at any giving place.  If you make the decision to make a living at stage management and only stage management, there are somethings you have to forgo (this is true for any committment to the arts.)  If you want to work at a certain level, or remain in your hometown, then you need to look honestly what that level pays and how often you will work, and adjust your lifestyle accordingly.  If yolu have a certain lifestyle you wish to support, then you might have to consider the possibility of moving around, or working a lot more then you feel comfortable.

Is there ever a perfect time to take a contract?  No.  You have to just weigh everything and take the leap when if feels right.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Anything posted here as in my own personal opinion, and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of my employer - whomever they be at a given moment in time.

VSM

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Joining Equity
« Reply #4 on: Aug 22, 2004, 05:54 am »
That little voice that we all hear...

We each need to decide when to stop ignoring it
and when to start embracing it...

Here's to your decision...
BRAVO
Ordo ab chao

centaura

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« Reply #5 on: Sep 10, 2004, 11:47 pm »
Okay - in a related question, once you've made your desicion to work for a while at non-eq, getting experience, if you're then tempted to think union - is there a way to get union experience and still pay the mortgage?  As far as I understand, the main way to get into equity is to work as an ASM at a part-equity house.  I'm not interested right now, but I'm trying to think ahead a bit, where I'll be in 5 / 10 years time.  Is there a way into the union for older SM's who can't afford to go back to $200 a week pay?

smejs

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« Reply #6 on: Sep 11, 2004, 03:06 am »
Hey centaura -

There's always what I call the "Poof-You're-Equity" version........where if you seem like a good candidate for stage managing their show, any theatre can say "I want THAT person for the job."  And just hire you to turn Equity....depending on how good you are, a few theatres will even pay your union dues, but that's rare.

I think it's ultimately how most people get their cards these days.  Sometimes it's from working your way up at a single theatre, but often it's word of mouth from networking and someone you know tells them, yeah, she/he's ready.  (Happened to me.) - Erin

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